The Pearl Post staff brings back awards, memories, experience from NHSJC

The Pearl Post wins first in Best of Show: Website and fifth in Best of Show: Newsmagazine for small schools.
The Pearl Post staff holds the publications Best of Show awards during the National Scholastic Press Association awards ceremony on Nov. 4.
The Pearl Post staff holds the publication’s Best of Show awards during the National Scholastic Press Association awards ceremony on Nov. 4.
Adriana Chavira

The Pearl Post came back from the National High School Journalism Convention (NHSJC) with several awards, including first place in Best of Show for small school website and fifth place for the newsmagazine. 

“From a journalism standpoint, it was an awesome experience to compete with our other student journalists from around the country and learn from very experienced advisors,” Print Editor-in-Chief Alan Ruiz said.

After a five-hour-long flight from Los Angeles to Boston, we walked into the cold with our luggage in hand and took a bus ride to the Boston Marriott Copley Hotel to check in. The trip was funded by the school district’s Cultural Arts Passport program, which allowed 10 Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) students to attend this year’s NHSJC held in the Hynes Convention Center and the Sheraton Hotel in Boston from Nov. 1-5. 

By the end of the convention, The Pearl Post received first place for Best of Show: Website and fifth place for Best of Show: Newsmagazine with the October 2023 Issue for schools with enrollment of 1,800 or less. Additionally, the Courage Award from the Student Press Law Center was given to alumni Delilah Brumer, Gabrielle Lashley, Nathalie Miranda and Valeria Luquin for their fight against censorship in 2022.

The convention, which attracted more than 4,400 high school journalists, was sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association. Students attended a variety of breakout sessions to improve individual, team-building or designing skills for The Pearl Post staff. 

“When I attended the first time, I was a staff writer,” Ruiz said. “Now I’m editor-in-chief and I’m in charge of the staff. I need to work on team productivity and so I focus on those types of sessions a lot to help our staff be as efficient and productive as possible.”

On Nov. 2, a few of our students attended the pre-convention workshops while others used their time to visit the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. Those who went to the workshops received a lesson in basic photography and were taught how to utilize different camera settings. On Nov. 3 and 4, all students attended sessions to broaden and improve their writing skills or learn new design techniques. One session that I enjoyed the most was a workshop that discussed magazine design and guidelines that can make your design pop out. 

Four DPMHS journalists won competition certificates from the Student Media Contests, ranging from honorable mention to excellent, on Nov. 5. Staff Writer Vanessa Morales received an Excellent award in the Newswriting category, as well as Managing Editor Satenik Ayrapetyan who competed in the Editorial Writing category. Honorable mention awards were given to Features Editor Alexa Garay in Yearbook Copy/Caption: Student Life and Ruiz in News Editing/Headline/Current Events. 

“I do think the sessions helped me out with the competitions, especially since I’ve never done yearbook writing before,” Garay said. “I did attend a session about writing and I feel like that gave me a better understanding of what kind of format I should be writing in.”

At the convention, keynote speakers Matt Carroll, Walter “Robby” Robinson and Patricia Wen from The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team answered questions from an interviewer and people in the crowd in the last segment of the conference. The Spotlight team is known for its investigative work on the Catholic Church, which is shown in the Oscar-winning biographical film “Spotlight.” During their segment, they spoke about how being an investigative journalist is an important part of journalism because it brings light to stories that are usually kept hidden from the public. 

In between sessions and other activities, we went sightseeing at the multitude of monuments and popular spots in Boston. A few of the places we visited were historic sites, including Copley Square Park with multiple statues of historical figures. One prominent landmark that we got to see was “The Embrace,” which was based on a popular photograph of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King hugging. We also visited the Boston Public Library–Central Library, which has fresco paintings inside. 

“I loved going around Boston, like we could walk everywhere,” staff writer Emma Rosenberg said. “It was so pretty and I felt like I got close to some people like Maggie (Simonyan) and Serena (Elkins) because we were sharing a room.”

The convention allowed our staff members to improve their journalistic skills and improve the work that we produce. From this learning experience, I have been taught things that will help me in the future with articles and upcoming magazine issues. 

“Overall, I had a really good time because I got a lot out of it,” Rosenberg said. “The sights were really beautiful too. I also learned new stuff about writing and things like that.”

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